Rising cost of living leaves over 65s seeking out shared accomodation

Dec 12, 2022
The recent findings highlight the already growing financial burden that over 60s are currently facing with the rising cost of living and the ongoing rental crisis impacting over 60s the hardest. Source: Getty Images.

A recent survey that examined the impact of the ongoing cost of living and the recent rental increases has found that more over 65s are seeking out shared accomodation to make ends meet.

The 2021 National Share Accommodation Survey from flatmates.com.au found that those aged 65 to 74 who were seeking out rooms rose by 25 per cent over the five years to 2021, making them the fastest growing cohort seeking shared housing.

Flatmates Community Manager Claudia Conley put this trend down to “financial reasons, and current market pressures and the rising cost of living” which “are taking a toll”.

“With the rising cost of living and limited rental stock, we are seeing the number of diverse share houses full of families, single parents, elderly sharers, migrants, and empty nesters continue to grow,” Conley said.

“This year, we’ve seen the share-house market change significantly. With COVID-normal underway, there’s been a shift from a desire for more space to simply being able to pay the bills.

“Facing these pressures, we’ve seen share houses work together to navigate higher rents and costs, whether that means finding new ways to save money or looking for cheaper rooms to rent.”

Housing and over 60s.
Source: Getty Images.

The recent findings highlight the already growing financial burden that over 60s are currently facing with the rising cost of living and the ongoing rental crisis impacting over 60s the hardest.

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently revealed that older Australians are already suffering the most from the rising cost of living.

Exacerbating the issue is findings from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia’s (ASFA) that a comfortable retirement for senior Australians has risen by 1.9 per cent, with those over 65 now needing to spend $68,014 per year for couples, and $48,266 for singles.

Over 60s are even being impacted at the supermarket checkout with a recent report from Frugl revealing that pensioners have been among the hardest hit by rising prices, with the weekly grocery shop in particular having the greatest impact.

Following a comprehensive analysis of grocery prices across the country, Frugl Grocery Price Index found that annual grocery price inflation has risen to a record high of 9.49 per cent with the largest price increases being found in items such as dairy and eggs which saw an increase of 9.05 per cent and bread and bakery items at 4.94 per cent.

The report also found that older demographics are facing the steepest price rises both annually and quarterly, with pensioners faced with a 15.31 per cent increase annually and 3.92 per cent rise quarterly on the cost of food.

Of greater concern are findings from a report, earlier this year, from the Retirement Living Council that found women over the age of 55 are the fastest-growing group of homeless Australians.

The Retirement Living – A Solution For Older Women at Risk of Homelessness report found that the number of older Australian women accessing homelessness services has increased by 63 per cent in the last five years.

Homelessness over 55s.
Source: Getty Images.

Retirement Living Council president Marie-Louise MacDonald said “there are potentially up to 240,000 women aged 55 and over who are at risk of homelessness and that a large portion of these are the ‘missing middle’”.

“Over the past decade there has been a 31 percent increase in women who are homeless, and it is the fastest growing group of homeless people in Australia. This report is focusing on the older women who are at risk of becoming homeless,” she said.

“These are women who have done everything that society has asked of them, yet they are in housing limbo because they have too much money to qualify for social housing and too little money to buy a house. Their age is often a big barrier to securing a housing loan, and the pressure of paying rent quickly eats into modest retirement savings.

“They are also missing from the homeless statistics as many of them are missed in data collection.”

The report found that factors such as limited personal savings and superannuation, the gender pay gap, housing and rental affordability, discrimination based on age, breakdown of a relationship, and domestic violence contributed to the growing number of older Australian women who are winding up homeless.

The report also found that these women had “led conventional lives” with “stable homes and families” and homelessness was often “forced upon them after critical life events.”

If you or anyone you know needs help: Lifeline — 13 11 14; MensLine Australia — 1300 789 978; BeyondBlue — 1300 224 636; Suicide Call Back Service — 1300 659 467; Headspace — 1800 650 890; Kids Helpline — 1800 551 800.

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